It’s official now: In a first for the city after years of waiting, Philadelphia will be a host for the World Cup in 2026.

The city will be among a group of co-hosts for a men’s soccer spectacle: 48 national teams combining to play 80 games across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

“Philadelphia just showed what it was,” FIFA vice president and Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said after the announcement Thursday, praising how much the city showed that it wanted to bring the event to town.

For the Union’s Alejandro Bedoya and Jim Curtin, the news is a soccer dream come true.

Crowds gathered in LOVE Park to celebrate Philly becoming one of 11 U.S. cities to host the global event. “The world is coming to Philadelphia, and we are ready,” Mayor Jim Kenney said to cheers.

— Jim Swan, Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport, sports.daily@inquirer.com.

Flyers, Tortorella agree a to four-year deal

The search is finally over. After over five months without a permanent head coach, the Flyers have agreed to a deal with John Tortorella to be the team’s coach, a source told The Inquirer.

But what about the fit? The polarizing Tortorella brings a long track record of success and some desirable traits to the job. But he also comes with some baggage.

Giana Han assesses the pros and cons of the Flyers landing on Tortorella.

Next: The Flyers are expected to introduce Tortorella to the media over Zoom on Friday.

No surprise: The bullpen needs help

Following the demotion of Corey Knebel this week, either Seranthony Domínguez or Brad Hand will be tasked with closing out games for the Phillies — for now.

But after 64 games, it’s clear that the Phillies are short at least one late-inning reliever. What are their options in dealing for a reliever by the trade deadline? Scott Lauber offers three possibilities, including former Phillie David Robertson.

Even if the bullpen needs help, the bats were swinging against the Nationals in a 10-1 rout.

Zach Eflin had to leave his last start with soreness in his right knee, but medical tests revealed only a bruise. He should be able to start Sunday in the Phillies’ series finale with the Washington Nationals.

Next: The Phillies play a day-night doubleheader Friday against the Nationals in Washington at 1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. (NBCSP).

Harden could be with the Sixers for the long haul

As the Sixers star previously stated, James Harden intends to pick up his $47.6 million player option for next season. But he could be in Philly a bit longer than that, according to a report from Bleacher Report. Harden reportedly plans to sign a short-term deal with the Sixers after he opts in.

While Harden will be eligible for a four-year, $233 million contract extension, the team reportedly has chafed at the idea of giving him a full max deal. That appears not to be an issue for Harden, who has professed his willingness to take a pay cut to help the Sixers win. “I’ll be here,” he has said in the past when asked about his commitment.

Union look for overall winning record

If Union captain Alejandro Bedoya needed any inspiration to get back on the soccer field after a stretch of time off, he had only to look at his Union teammate, Dániel Gazdag, scoring a goal against England in an international game, or at the latest iteration of the U.S. men’s national team fighting back from a goal down in stormy conditions, or just think about how the World Cup is coming to Philadelphia in four years.

One other motivational element - the Union are again at the cusp of an overall winning record. A victory versus Cincinnati and the familiar faces involved with that club, would put the organization at a historic mark.

Jonathan Tannenwald has all the details on the confrontation.

Next: The Union take on FC Cincinnati at Subaru Park (7:30 p.m., PHL17)

Sanaa Hebron making a name of her own

Former Eagles running back Vaughn Hebron’s children are standout track athletes, and Neshaminy High’s Sanaa Hebron is the latest. She’s headed to Miami on a track scholarship and before that she’ll compete in multiple events at the New Balance Nationals at Franklin Field this week. Hebron, who went on to become a personal trainer, is “Doach” — dad and coach — to his daughter, and they share a similar competitive spirit.

Worth a look

  • Title IX game-changer: A Temple badminton player named Rollin Haffer sued the university in 1980 over inequities between the Owls men’s and women’s athletic programs. Her lawsuit had far-reaching effects.

  • Gambling man: Charles Barkley is a spokesman for FanDuel, but he maintains that “there’s too much betting. ... But the toothpaste is out of the tube and I don’t know how to put it back in.”

  • NCAA champion: Penn’s Marc Minichello stands only 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds. So how did he capture the NCAA title in the javelin last week? A chip on his shoulder and hard work played a role.

What you’re saying about John Tortorella

We asked you: Thumbs up or down on “Torts” as the new Flyers coach? Your responses:

Great! He is tough as nails. Good fit in Philly! — Marc W.

Thumbs down. How can we possibly trust anything that this current management team does?... Unfortunately this team is in need of much more than just a Coach. Why do you think [Barry] Trotz didn’t sign for a King’s Ransom here!?! — Brian L.

Does it matter? Watching the Rangers, the Lightning, the Avalanche, they have so many more pieces than the Flyers. Is management prepared to give him five years to rebuild the club, or will they panic the way they did with Hextall/Hakstol and bail? — Joel G.

This hire is proof that the Flyers brass still listens to [Bob] Clarke and [Paul]Holmgren too much. He’s a Tough” guy. Note to Flyers. It’s not 1975. Trotz has proven he can coach in TODAY’S NHL. — Scott M.

Coach Tortorella has a very good track record. ... [But] I feel it is time to bring in a younger coach who I feel can relate better to young personnel as Edmonton did with Jay Woodcroft. — Alan D.

Huge thumbs up!!! — Bob Z.

If he can’t develop young players, who needs his big mouth? — David M.

We are going back to 1985-1988 days — Clyde E.

I don’t mind Tortorella as a new coach. I like [Trotz] better than him, but he was in the top three to take over the Flyers. For me they need a tough coach ... We need to go back to having a team that other teams are scared to play against, not a team like we’re watching Disney on Ice. — Jim C.

The flyers just lost me as a fan — Walter B.

Big Thumbs Up — Tony M.

This will be like having Ken Hitchcock back. Good coaches whose personality rub players the wrong way. We will see a modest uptick year 1, player unrest year 2, with full mutiny mode year 3. — W.S.C.

The Flyers’ new fella.

I hope he’s not a meanie

[Or] he’ll be tortellini — Ken G.

Inquirer Live

It’s finally official. The 76ers will select No. 23 in the 2022 NBA draft, picking in the latter half of the first-round, which is a position they are familiar with. Sixers star Tyrese Maxey, defensive stalwart Matisse Thybulle and backup guard Furkan Korkmaz were all chosen in that part of the draft. The Inquirer’s Gina Mizell and Keith Pompey will discuss potential picks for the Sixers and touch on a big offseason to follow.

We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Scott Lauber, Jonathan Tannenwald, EJ Smith, Mike Jensen, Katie Kohler, Giana Han, Olivia Reiner, Oona Goodin-Smith, and Sam Cohn.